- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: For Detroit, right now, everything. The Lions had not beaten Washington in the general District of Columbia area since the Redskins moved there in 1937. And it is Detroit’s first win on the road since Nov. 4, 2012, when the Lions beat Jacksonville 31-14. But the importance of the win is heavier because of what it signifies. A week after blowing a lead in Arizona, the Lions held on to beat a desperate Washington team. Its defensive line pressured Robert Griffin III all day. Its offense was diversified and featured both running and passing. And perhaps the biggest sign that this Detroit team is different than in years past: With a fourth-down decision up three points in the fourth quarter, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz went for it instead of taking the field goal. The Lions converted, scored a touchdown and won the game. Plays like that make a team believe.
Stock watch: Rising -- running back Joique Bell. In his first career start in place of the injured Reggie Bush, Bell gained 63 yards rushing and 69 yards receiving and scored a touchdown. He ran hard, hit holes well and broke tackles on many of his runs. Rookie tight end Joseph Fauria didn’t see a lot of opportunities, but he made plays when he did, scoring his second career touchdown and pulling off an 'N Sync touchdown dance. Falling -- cornerback Darius Slay. The rookie didn’t play at all in base defense, replaced by veteran Rashean Mathis from the first snap of the game.
Return of Burleson: Often in interviews, Nate Burleson will call himself a complementary player to Calvin Johnson and Bush. And compared to them, it is a fair assessment. But the 11-year pro out of Nevada had his first 100-yard game since Nov. 7, 2010, against the New York Jets. He had 116 yards, his most since Dec. 30, 2007, when he had 119 for Seattle.
Johnson milestones: Johnson became the third receiver in NFL history to catch 500 or more passes for 8,000 or more yards in fewer than 100 games. He now has 505 catches for 8,104 yards.
What’s next: Detroit returns home to face Chicago in an NFC North game at 1 p.m. Sunday, followed by trips to Green Bay and Cleveland.